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Kerala: Four Congress leaders resign in Wayanad, seniors rush to broker peace

Among those who have quit include KPCC secretary M S Vishwanathan, DCC general secretary Anil Kumar, KPCC executive committee member K K Vishwanathan and Mahila Congress state secretary Sujaya Venugopal.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi leads a tractor rally at Wayanad. (Twitter: @INCIndia)

A string of prominent resignations in Wayanad and Palakkad units has rattled the Congress ahead of the assembly polls slated for April 6.

In the past few days, as many as four disgruntled Congress leaders have resigned from the party in Wayanad district, which is represented by Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha.

Among those who have quit include KPCC secretary M S Vishwanathan, DCC general secretary Anil Kumar, KPCC executive committee member K K Vishwanathan and Mahila Congress state secretary Sujaya Venugopal.

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Considering the star value attached to Gandhi’s constituency, the party has rushed senior leaders to broker peace with the rebels in Wayanad.

Vishwanathan has quit the party on Wednesday in protest against the leadership’s “failure to ensure social justice in distribution of seats”. Vishwanathan, who belongs to Kuruma tribal community, a prominent tribal segment in Wayanad, said: “Kuruma community has been neglected in seat sharing exercise. I have the support of my community. The posts of DCC president and the legislator are held by one person. I had already expressed my dissent much earlier.”

CPI (M) has already sent feelers to the Congress rebel with the promise that he would be accommodated in the party.

But when Vishwananthan walked out of Congress, CPM leader E M Sankaran, who also belongs to the same Kuruma community, joined the Congress and filled the community gap.

KPCC general secretary K P Anil Kumar, who was deputed by the party to find a solution for the pre-poll crisis in Wayanad, said: “The party is looking for a solution to bring them back. The resignations are a fallout of discontent brewing in the party for quite some time. Conciliatory efforts are on. When we lost one leader from the Kuruma community, we managed to get a CPI (M) leader from that community to our camp,’’ he said.

In Palakkad district, former DCC president and legislator A V Gopinath has threatened to contest against Youth Congress state president and incumbent Palakkad legislator Shafi Parambil. In Palakkad, Congress MP V K Sreekandan is the DCC president.

Gopinath said he has been side-lined in the party as he is not affiliated to any group in Congress. “One month ago, I was informed that I have to take over as DCC president. But that was torpedoed. Congress committees have been reduced to fill nominees of groups. If there is no favourable decision, I will quit the party within two days,’’ he said.

What worries Congress is that Gopinath is a member of party-ruled Peringottukurussi panchayat and 11 members of the panchayat have decided to join Gopinath.

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